Baseball Memories

I’m sitting in the third row behind the Orioles dugout at Camden Yards right now, awaiting the first pitch of tonight’s Orioles/Yankees contest. There are so many memories this brings up…

There’s a father/son sitting in front of me.

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I assume that’s what my dad and I, or my grandfather and I looked like when I was much younger. Even though I don’t remember that far back, I know from family stories that they both took me to Tacoma Rainiers games from the week I was born. Even now, 12 (YIKES!) years removed from high school, I make my dad take me to games when I’m home. He rolls his eyes, but I know that he loves it. And he knows I do, too.

Alex Rodriguez is taking BP right now. It kills me to watch him now- I was such a fan back in ’95, and frankly, for years after. Until he left my beloved M’s for money. I watched Alex as a Rainier in the beginning of the ’95 season. I remember the hype, the energy and enthusiasm he brought to the field. And to know that he sacrificed all that natural talent for nothing- what a waste.

There are kids (and a lot of adults) trying to get autographs. It’s something I never really feel the need to get- because what I care about is watching the players and their interactions. I enjoy listening to them, seeing how relaxed (or not!) they are. That’s what being a season ticket holder allows. More than a one-off experience: it’s a relationship.

I miss Cheney. I miss the minor league feel when I’m at major league parks. There is too much stimulation here- and most of it takes away from the beauty of the game. In-between inning activities should be baseball-related. Those in charge of the music should be required to get training about how to work the crowd. Players should be told to come sign autographs for fans who line the dugouts and fence lines hoping for a glimpse of a current nobody who may be a somebody, someday. Kids should leave the stadium feeling excited, inspired, and enthusiastic towards this great sport.

The people who work in ALL elements of the stadium/team should be trained about the history of the venue they support. They should know how the community supports them, so they can show their support for the community. Ushers should talk to folks as they wait for the game to start. Those who sell season tickets should come by and thank the people who they sold to. Make them know that they are appreciated. It’s the hometown way. It’s old school. It’s beautiful.

It’s the baseball I remember, I treasure, and I hope to raise the kids I plan to have someday with those values and experiences.

Just food for thought, Tacoma Rainiers…

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